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Saturday, July 21 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: The Sinai Journey
"When the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the Wilderness of Sinai"
When "the children of Israel" left Egypt in their Exodus, they immediately entered the Wilderness of Sinai. Although the Sinai is held by Egypt today (after it was returned by Israel to Egypt after the wars and peace treaties of the 1960s to 1980s; see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace), the Sinai was outside of the borders of Egypt at the time of the Exodus (see also the Fact Finder question below to understand why the apostle Paul said that Mount Sinai is in Arabia - the reason that some today erroneously think that Mount Sinai is in "Saudi" Arabia, a nation that was created only in the 1920s; see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
"12:30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover].
The "children of Israel" had grown into a multitude during their four centuries in Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?) - "six hundred thousand on foot that were men," plus many more women and children, plus "a mixed multitude went up also with them."
"12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual." (Exodus 12:37-39 KJV)
The Exodus happened exactly how and when the LORD told Abraham, centuries before, that it would happen for the Messianic line from Abraham (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac).
"12:40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 12:41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass [see The Exodus Prophecy; also Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates], that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations." (Exodus 12:40-42 KJV)
"The LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land"
The immediate reason that the LORD turned them southward was so that they would not encounter the Philistines (yet), but moreover the reason was that they were headed for Mount Sinai, which is located in the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula.
"13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
In the meantime, the Pharaoh once again changed his mind about letting the Israelites go - this time, after they had already gone. He then mustered a large force of chariots and horsemen to pursue the Israelites when they were already outside of Egyptian territory (the only regard that Satan-minded leaders have for borders is their own; like the Satan, they have no righteous respect for the lawful territory of other nations; see The Boundary Law and Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal).
"14:5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon." (Exodus 14:5-9 KJV)
When the Egypt-born Israelites saw the Pharaoh's army coming, they panicked. They had been brainwashed to believe the propaganda that the Egyptian army was invincible - an illusion that the LORD was once again about to cure them of (see also Legions Of Men And Angels and The Coming World Dictator).
"14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. 14:11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 14:12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
Contrary to popularized myth, the waters were not split, instantly or otherwise. They were driven back "by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided (see Christ's Crossing Of The Sea). After the Israelites had completed their crossing, the LORD permitted the water to come rushing back upon the Pharaoh's imperial army.
"14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
"Come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present thyself there to Me"
It was not a hard march for the Israelites; a few months after the Exodus, the Israelites (approximately 2-3 million of them, with flocks and herds) "camped before the Mount."
"19:1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 19:2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount." (Exodus 19:1-2 KJV)
"20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
As further recorded in Exodus chapters 20 to 31, while he was up on Mount Sinai, Moses was given detailed instructions and laws for the country that would be born when they entered the Promised Land, "31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." (Exodus 31:18 KJV). During the extended time that Moses was away, the Israelites chose to ignore the spectacular power of the LORD that they had been witnessing and made for themselves the infamous "golden calf" idol. It was Israel's first great apostasy - one of many to come over the centuries. Notice that they called the idol "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" and their worship of the idol as "a feast to the LORD." It was blasphemy.
"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
When Moses returned, he restored order to the camp - and then returned up on the Mountain (see Mountains Of The Messiah).
"34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first [see The Stones Of Mount Sinai]: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 34:2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 34:3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount." (Exodus 34:1-3 KJV)
"This evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die"
The Israelites had come out of Egypt (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus) at Passover (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover). They had received the Eternal Law of the LORD, to begin their national prophetic purpose (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD and The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God). At Mount Sinai, they were half-way home, and it took only a few months to do it. It would have taken only a few months more for their journey home. But they remained in the Sinai for forty years.
"16:35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan." (Exodus 16:35 KJV)
Why forty years, when they could have been home in a few months? Numbers chapters 13 and 14 describes how, as the Israelites were approaching their entry into the promised land, from the south, through the Negev Desert (see The Negev Of Israel), twelve Israelite scouts were sent ahead to gather information. What they found truly was a land blessed with milk and honey.
"13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them." (Numbers 13:1-2 KJV)
The land was however occupied by formidable Canaanite forces, which caused all of the scouts, except Joshua and Caleb, to lose courage (while ignoring the fact that with God fighting their battles for them they were undefeatable - as He had just demonstrated with the "superpower" Pharaoh), so they gave a false report to the people. This in turn caused most of the Israelites to lose heart, and to actually want to return to their slavery in Egypt. At one point they were about to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb who desperately tried to encourage the people to remain obedient and courageous, but they wouldn't listen.
"13:28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites [see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan], and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
It was a very costly rebellion for them. The LORD turned them and had them wander in the Sinai for the next forty years, until the entire rebel generation of the Exodus had died. It would be their children and grandchildren that would enter the Promised Land, from the east, across the Jordan River.
"14:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 14:30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 14:31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 14:33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 14:34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 14:35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die [see A Journey Without A Destination].
When the Israelites realized what they had done, they attempted to enter the promised land anyway. They had defied the LORD's command to go in, and they then defied the LORD's command to stay out. The result was of their own making.
"14:39 And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. 14:40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
Fact Finder: Why did the apostle Paul say that Mount Sinai was in "Arabia"?
This Day In History, July 21
356 BC: The original Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana) in Ephesus, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" (it took 120 years to build it) was destroyed by arson. The idol-worshiping Temple was rebuilt and is recorded in the New Testament (see The Riot At Ephesus).
365: An earthquake at Crete caused a tsunami in the Mediterranean Sea that struck Alexandria, Egypt. It killed over 5,000 people in the city and 50,000 more in the surrounding area.
1403: Henry IV defeated rebel forces at the Battle of Shrewsbury in England.
1542: In an increasing fight against Protestantism, Pope Paul III set up an "Inquisition."
1588: The first of 3 battles of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada (warships and thousands of European marines) that had been sent by the Papacy to invade England.
1667: The Peace of Breda ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667) and ceded Dutch New Amsterdam (today known as New York City) to the English.
1711: Russia and Turkey signed the Treaty of Pruth, ending the year-long Russo-Turkish War of 1711.
1773: Clement XIV issued his Dominus ac redemptor noster which officially dissolved the so-called "Society of Jesus" (the Jesuits).
1774: The Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1798: The "Battle of the Pyramids" took place in Egypt. The Mameluke army attempted to block Napoleon's march on Cairo but were repulsed and eventually driven into the Nile River, where many were drowned.
1831: Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (in Germany) was elected the first king of the Belgians.
1904: The 4,607 mile / 7,468 kilometer Trans-Siberian railway was completed after 13 years of construction.
1925: The "Scopes monkey trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee when John Scopes was found guilty and fined $100.00 for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in violation of a Tennessee statute enacted earlier in the year. Scopes' conviction was later overturned (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1954: The French signed an armistice with the Viet Minh that ended their war but divided the Vietnamese people into two countries. The result was a Vietnam civil war between the north and the south that the U.S. later involved itself in after the French withdrew from the divided Vietnam that they created.
1969: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin lifted off from the surface of the moon, successfully completing the first manned lunar landing (the Russians were the first to make a successful unmanned lunar landing; first, a series of intentional crash landings beginning in 1959, then a controlled landing in 1966 from which scientific instruments transmitted data and video back to earth).
1970: Construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed after 11 years.
1983: Martial law was lifted in Poland. It had been imposed in December 1981 by the communist government in a crackdown against Solidarity labor union.
1983: The lowest temperature ever recorded occurred at Vostok Station, Antarctica: -89.2 degrees Celsius / -128 degrees Fahrenheit.
1998: Alan Shepherd died at age 74. Shepherd was the first U.S. astronaut in space (a Russian was the first human in space) and the 5th man to walk on the moon.